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Numerology or Superstition? Why is 3 Perceived as Unlucky Around The World, Know the Fact!


core beliefs, religious beliefs

People will change their travel plans, postpone purchases, or spend their life savings on lottery tickets, all based on their core beliefs the root of which is often unknown. Numbers are not spared of these as well. Friday the 13th, or 666 or the number 3- haven't we heard of numerous superstitious beliefs and their unconventional antidotes!


Curious about where did these numbers get their reputations? How core beliefs relating to just a number are affecting people? Aren't you?


The Superstition

For years, the number 3 has been thought to be "unlucky," but why? How can a number be associated with so much superstition and significance? This superstition may date back to the 1890s, depending on why someone thinks 3 is bad luck.


Certain incidents could have happened that may have contributed to the belief in this superstition. Patterns are an obvious cognitive addition to this belief system. When we see patterns or sequences that appear often, it is much easier for our brains to allocate items to each other. Also, religious beliefs can be considered as one of the causes of superstition.


3 in the Ancient World

  1. In Christianity, there is a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit. Christ, it seems, died at 3 p.m. That helps to understand why many people believe 3 a.m. is the start of the Devil's Hour.

  2. Odin, Thor, Freyr, and Freyja each have three weapons, artifacts, or magical objects in Norse mythology.

  3. And Greek mythology joins in the fun. The earth is divided between the three brothers, Zeus (the sky), Poseidon (the seas), and Hades (the underworld). Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, the Three Fates, rule the length of human life.


The general perception of 3

3 (Three) is a natural number. It is an odd and a prime number as well as it is the smallest number which is one less than a perfect square. 3 is the smallest number of sides a polygon can have, which is a triangle and is the most stable shape in the world.


There are 3 primary colors red, blue, and yellow, using which all the others colors can be formed. Still, 3 being a number that people consider a bad sign is something that can go over the head. The number three is also associated with various religions and religious beliefs and has varying narratives on a person's spiritual path.


Three is a pattern almost followed by everyone in this world in some or the other way for starters, starting a race with 1 2 3 go or "ready set go", films, stories and plays have a "beginning", a "middle" and an "end".


Fairy tales usually have three wishes, bears, sisters, brothers and days, etc., basically, three are everywhere. A man and a woman together make a third- a child. Three (3) are several times, such as in "Past-Present-Future", "Birth-Life-Death" and "Beginning-Middle-End".


How is Three unlucky?

"Teen-3 Tigada Kaam Bigada" (It's Three, which has caused a disturbance in your work) ever heard of this famous phrase, well if you are an Indian you must have used it for a significant amount of times in your life.


People in India have a lot of metaphors, superstitions, religious beliefs, and core beliefs that they apply in their lives daily. Though it's not some superstition which has any genuine explanation whatsoever to prove its credibility, but people do think that it is an unlucky number! Luck, especially bad luck, is often "come in threes".


Death and Three

Moving ahead there is a famous belief that "Death comes in threes". Have we ever thought about why do deaths come in threes and is it true? Yes, it is supposed to be true as Psychology has earlier proven this three deaths logic based on real-life surveys.


Death always comes in Number 3. On account of it, number 3 in Hinduism is a sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen that may cause death. Possibly, it is not something supernatural, paranormal, or magical that sounds mysterious and baffling nevertheless.


The superstition related to the number three that bad things happen in threes has expanded to the idea that celebrities die in threes. For example, Michael Jackson along with Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett all died in the same week, bringing back the belief that death and all manners of catastrophe come in threes. People claim the 'death-in-threes' belief to be significant, but again, people generally seek patterns.


Similar things happening three times epitomize the effect of the event. It poses an emphasis on the occurrence of the event and makes it visible enough to get noticed by people and as people seek patterns and want to make some sense out of everything they naturally come up with beliefs like this.



The belief in various countries

Well! Number three is not considered as unlucky in just one place but in India, Vietnam, some sections of Christianity, and many more consider number 3 ominous.


India & Hinduism

Such a core belief being in India is an ironic thing because, according to Hindu Mythology, the Trimurti or Trinity: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Mahesh the Destroyer, are the three major Gods. They are the three, who can make and break the universe.


Also, there are three paths to salvation in the Bhagavad Gita named Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. Apart from three being a major part of Hindu mythology, people still believing it as unlucky is difficult to digest. A religious belief you see!


One more core belief about the number 3 among Indians is the Third God- Shiva or Mahesh, also known as the destroyer. He can dissolve everything into a vast unknown for its revitalization. And this is said to be the reason Hindus try to avoid the number three as much as possible.


Islam & Other Countries

In Islamic culture, there is a law where a man can divorce his wife by only saying "Talaq" three times commonly known as triple talaq.


Because of an old superstition that whoever is in the center of the picture will die, the Japanese and Vietnamese avoid taking photographs if there are only three participants.


On the contrary, the core belief in China is, three is considered good because the pronunciation of three in Chinese sounds similar to the word "alive". Isn’t it weird that one country thinks number 3 as unlucky while the other as lucky!


The study of the symbolic 3 transports us to distant antiquity, into the realms of mythology, religious beliefs, mathematics, philosophy, and magic—indeed, into almost every branch of knowledge. The core belief about number 3 affects us in everything we do!


The debate about number three being a boon or ominous is endless. However, by hoping that the bad luck will end eventually, we gain some control over our chaotic lives and can relax. There are no lucky or unlucky numbers; they just exist in our heads – or the heads of some of us – and they can only become lucky or unlucky if we make them so.



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